Views from the Hawke's Nest: PROGRESS Wrestling Chapter Eleven: To Fight War, You Must Become War
Posted by TJ Hawke on 04.18.2014
The main event finish was in tribute to The Bullet Club and Mount Rushmore of Wrestling.
January 26, 2013
Islington, Greater London, England
Commentator: Jimmy Barnett
The show started with a video that recapped the big Jimmy Havoc angle that took place over the last two shows in 2013 and ended with him as the new PROGRESS Champion.
PROGRESS Tag Team Championship Tournament Match Screw Indy Wrestling (Mark Haskins & Nathan Cruz) vs. Stixx & Dave Mastiff Katherine Rose handled the ring introductions for Screw Indy Wrestling, which is presumably a movement against Indiana based wrestling promotions. It’s a bit odd for British wrestlers to care so much about Indiana wrestling promotions, but I don’t really get certain elements of British culture/humor.
I’m not seeing the records of the wrestlers in the graphics anymore. I’m not sure if that is something being done on purpose for the tag team tournament or if it’s something that the promotion has decided to do away with altogether. We shall see.
Stixx has had some underwhelming matches with the Screw Indy Wrestling stable in singles matches, and he’s basically been feuding with them. Stixx isn’t even from Indiana! I don’t know why they have a problem with each other! Mastiff dominated the early portion of the match. Stixx joined in on the domination of SIW. Katherine Rose eventually distracted Stixx, which allowed Haskins to cut him off. SIW got the heat on Stixx after that. Stixx managed to tag out to Mastiff, but the referee did not see it. The confusion allowed Haskins to drag Stixx back to his corner. Stixx was eventually able to finally escape and then tagged out to Mastff. Mastiff made a…massive comeback. The teams started going back and forth with lots of movez. Katherine Rose got involved. Mastiff threatened her, but Cruz took him out with a plancha. Haskins got a nearfall on Stixx with a lariat. He then hit Stixx with a kneeling superkick and a Made in Japan: 1…2…3!
Despite the length of the match, I enjoyed this a lot. I don’t think Katherine Rose needed to be involved in the finish, but hopefully they will at least pay off her role in the group in some way. I try not to get frustrated with booking that I disagree with these days, but there’s no denying that needless interference towards the finish takes away from my satisfaction/enjoyment. I should also note that I enjoyed Stixx a great deal more as a tag team guy here than in his singles matches that I have seen over the years. I hope to see him continue in the PROGRESS tag division. Dave Mastiff is my spirit animal. Match Rating: ***1/4
Natural Progression Series Josh Bodom vs. “Flash” Morgan Webster
It does appear that records are no longer being kept. That’s disappointing, but they were never a significant part of the PROGRESS booking.
Bodom was briefly in control to start the match. Webster made a nifty comeback, but Bodom cut him off with a spinning heel kick. Webster then made another comeback. He hit a tope con hello. They started going back and forth. They each got some nearfalls. They struggled at a turnbuckle until Webster knocked him down and then hit a 450: 1…2…3!
I was initially rather skeptical that they could pull off a good match, but they managed to do just that. It was real basic in terms of story, but they got the crowd invested and put together some cool exchanges. Thumbs up for this one. Match Rating: ***
El Ligero vs. Noam Dar
This is the third time these two have met in PROGRESS. Ligero beat Dar in the very first ever PROGRESS match. I believe Dar beat him at some point since, but I cannot remember the result or the show. Turns out, Ligero defeated him at Chapter 7 in a successful defense of the PROGRESS Championship. As always, I am the fool.
They took their time in terms of getting going. The PROGRESS crowd is good enough that I don’t care. It also helps that PROGRESS rarely does long matches. Ligero got control of the match and worked Dar over for a bit. Dar came back and got the Champagne SuperKneebar. Ligero got to the ropes, but Dar remained in control of the match. Dar actually got a nearfall with a Khali Brain Chop. Ligero got back in the match. Just as it looked like Ligero got control of the match, Dar came back with a tope suicida. They brawled on the floor. Back in the ring, Ligero got a crossface. Dar got to the ropes. Ligero went for the springboard DDT, but Dar reversed it into the Champagne SuperKneeBar! Ligero just got to the ropes, but Dar pulled him back and got the STF. Ligero got to the ropes again. Ligero connected on the springboard DDT: 1…NO! Ligero went for it again, but Dar reversed it into a schoolboy: 1…2…3!
Dar did a post-match speech. I could not understand a lot of it to be perfectly honest. His accent is quite thick. I think he wanted a title shot. He said he would take off the Nazi Eagle though and replace it with Mace Windu’s lightsaber.
While I would not go as far to say that the increased length added to the match, I do not think that it took away from the match either. Would a shorter match have been better? Most likely. (Are those two thoughts contradictory? Almost definitely.) However, something about the match seemed worthy of the increased time. I’m sure others would disagree though. This was a nice win for Dar in his return to the company. I would like to see him challenge Jimmy Havoc for the title at some point. I think it’s time for Ligero to join the tag team division in PROGRESS. Match Rating: ***1/2
PROGRESS Tag Team Championship Tournament Match The Swords of Essex (Paul Robinson & Will Ospreay) vs. F.S.U. (Eddie Dennis & Mark Andrews)
Andrews won the PROGRESS Championship at Chapter 10 after winning the Natural Progression Series that very night, but then Jimmy Havoc beat him in an impromptu match right after for the belt.
There was some early gaga with Dennis deciding that he doesn’t wrestle cruiserweight matches, but Eddie Mysterio Jr. does. That’s Eddie Dennis with a Rey Mysterio mask on. He did some juniors spots. He then took off his mask and wrestled like Kane. The crowd ate that up. F.S.U. were in control for a while. The Swords came back. Ospreay hit a shooting star press to the floor on Dennis and Andrews. F.S.U. got back in the ring and cut off Ospreay to be worked over some more. The Swords came right back. Cue the movez and nearfalls. A lot of the exchanges and movez were very fun and impressive. Robinson went for a dive on Dennis, but Dennis caught him. Andrews then caught Ospreay with a Dragonrana: 1…2…3!
Dennis challenged Jimmy Havoc and The London Riots to a fight “next weekend.” I’m not sure what was happening next weekend.
That was easily the match of the night so far. They did enough in the early goings to get the crowd invested, and then the crowd was going wild for all the crazy stuff they saved for the second half of the match. Mark Andrews is clearly one of PROGRESS’s standout performers. Match Rating: ***3/4
Rampage Brown vs. Tommy End
Brown hit End with a Yakuza right before the bell. They quickly ended up on the floor and proceeded to brawl. Brown was in control as they made their way back to the ring, and he worked End over for a while. End made a comeback that mostly involved kicks and a springboard movez. End followed that up with the Kota Ibushi moonsault to the floor. Back in the ring, Brown Did The Deal, but End somehow summoned the willpower to kick out. Rampage reversed a hurricanrana into a powerbomb and then got a nearfall with a lariat. End connected on a high kick. He then went for a springboard move, but Rampage caught him with a lariat: 1…2…3
Brown cut a promo after saying that he never agreed to defend the title against Andrews, and that he is going to get his title back.
This essentially served as a cool down between the crazy tag match and the main event title match. From that perspective, the match accomplished what it needed to. It did not last very long or have a bunch of stuff, but managed to entertain all the same. Match Rating: **3/4
Because of Jimmy Havoc’s recent actions, the head PROGRESS referee did not want to referee this match. Jim Smallman introduced the special guest referee…MARTY SCURLL!
Havoc proposed that they all just go to the pub instead of having a match. Scurll and Sabre were not down with that. Sabre went for an early armbreaker, but Havoc avoided it. Havoc pulled out a chair. Havoc accidentally did a somersault on the seated chair. Sabre followed that with a Penalty Kick off the apron. Sabre was in control until he accidentally kicked a ring post. Havoc then went after Sabre’s right leg. Sabre got a busted nose, but he managed to come back with three tope suicidas. Sabre got the armbreaker on the stage, and Havoc tapped out. Unfortunately, that does not count. Back in the ring, Havoc slowed Sabre down with a sleeper. Sabre managed to come back with a bridging Dragon for a nearfall. Havoc came back with a double stomp for a nearfall. Sabre accidentally kicked Scurll in the head and then got the armbreaker on Havoc. Havoc tapped, but Scurll obviously did not see it. Havoc then kicked Sabre in the balls and hit the Jig ‘n’ Tonic on the Nazi Staff (which was put in the ring by a PROGRESS student): 1…2…NO! Havoc then gave Scurll a DVD. Havoc then threatened to kill Sabre if Jim Smallman did not get into the ring. Smallman lifted Sabre’s arm for the three count, but Sabre kept it up at three. They’re doing the spot again, and this time, Sabre passed out after not being able to respond to the three count. Well, that was an underwhelming finish to say the least.
Unfortunately, that is one of those finishes that really throws shade on what was a really fun main event. As a general rule, I think angles should almost always take place *after* a match, and that should especially be the case with main events. A main event with a strong finish makes such a huge difference on how someone feels about a show. I understand the need and desire for a finish that makes fans need to see more, but there’s a way of doing that without cheapening the match that’s happening in the present.
With all of that in mind, I definitely would like to point out that the work between Sabre and Havoc was superb up until the finish. If anything, the finish was all the more frustrating because of how much I was enjoying the match. Match Rating: **3/4
Jim Smallman said they were going to make Jimmy Havoc’s life hell every time out. He then hyped up their anniversary show, which was taking place in a bigger building.
There was a Metallica sing-along with the crowd before the show officially got underway.
Jim Smallman did his warm-up act/introduction to the show. He mentioned he got married and that got “You sold out!” chants. Smallman then pointed out the fan who was wearing a John Cena shirt and made him feel back about himself. As usual, the crowd really got into Jim’s act. It’s one of the parts about PROGRESS that helps to make the show feel really unique.
Glen Joseph, one of the PROGRESS owners, did an interview about his musical theater career as Buddy Holly. Then there was a trailer for their show. That was something!
Finally, the extra features conclude with an interview with Zack Sabre Jr. (conducted by Glen Joseph). Zack talked about his time Japan. It was interesting. They also talked about his team with Marty Scurll. This interview was the clear gem of the bonus features. I’m not sure if I’ve just been ignoring these segments on previous shows, but regardless, I hope interviews like this are on future releases for PROGRESS.
The 411: There almost always seems to be one thing holding me back from recommending a PROGRESS show without qualification, and this show was not the exception. PROGRESS is a very good company with a great roster and environment for shows, but they are still doing a couple of things each show that bug me. I would probably be higher on this show if the main event swapped places with the F.S.U./Swords of Essex match, but unfortunately I must judge the show as it is. As usual, PROGRESS has produced a "Thumbs Up" show that I think most wrestling fans would enjoy, but it's not a perfect show. Buy the show from the PROGRESS Store.